by Adam Huddleston
During a slow period at work the other day, I was perusing a website of writing prompts and came across an interesting one. I jotted down this flash fiction story in a matter of minutes. It has no beneficial theme or deep message.
I like that in a story.
The thump from my son’s bedroom woke me from a light slumber. Sleep is always light when you have a newborn whose feeding schedule mirrors that of a hummingbird. Once I deduced that the baby was fine, I hopped (as nimbly as a near 40-year old can) out of bed and stumbled to Jason’s room.
“Everything ok-,” I began, but stopped short when I first felt, then saw the giant shadow in the corner. It seemed to suck up what little light was being cast by my five-year old’s Star Wars nightlight and squash it into oblivion.
Before I could move, I caught a streak of brown out of the corner of my eye and flinched backwards. My jaw dropped to see Jason’s stuffed teddy bear “Robot” (who knows), executing a flying sidekick. Its termination point was the bridge of some massive creature’s nose. I heard the bones snap and the being let out an other-worldly bellow. That sound will most assuredly remain with me for the rest of my life.
Without skipping a beat, Robot drove his small, furry fist into the beast’s chest and pulled out a pulsing, black heart. My son’s new hero gave out a triumphant yaw and held the organ aloft. That was when our eyes met.
A sheepish grin crossed his little face and he trotted across the tan carpet of my son’s bedroom floor.
“Is this really happening?”
The bear stood in silence for a minute, brow creased.
“Tonight it is, Dan. Tomorrow may be peaceful. The days and weeks following may as well. But some day, some day…”
I looked over to the corner of the room where an evil creature lay dead then back to my son’s sleeping buddy.
“Oh. Okay. Uh, thanks…Robot?”
“You’re quite welcome, Dan; you and Jason both. I swore to protect his precious life the day you brought me home, and I plan on keeping that promise for as long as I am able.”
I nodded at the dead beast.
“What are you gonna do with that?”
“Don’t worry about the Gorthok. It’ll be disposed of before you son wakes. Oh, and he whispered to me that he wants toaster pastries in the morning.”
“Uh, toaster pastries. Got it.”
I turned toward the hallway, had a thought, and turned back. The room was as it always was. Jason was tucked in sweetly under his comforter. All four bedroom corners were empty. Robot was sitting still in the little red rocking chair my grandfather had built for my son when he was born.
That thought returned to me once more.
No more Italian food after eleven.